Monday, January 7, 2013

#10: What's Barbie Got To Do With It?

Hellooooo! Welcome back! A few months ago a family friend called me and told me that her little girls had just inherited a huge load of Barbies......but they were all naked! She's been searching online for Barbie and Ken clothes, but they tend to run VERY expensive. She asked me if I would be interested in making some Barbie clothes with my new sewing abilities ;) I gave it some thought, and though I've never made Barbie clothes before, I decided to try it out, if for nothing else than to help a friend. I've been finding clothes and fabric with great patterns that I think would work well in a miniaturized form, so today I'll give you a taste of my first ever Barbie transformation! I had just the piece in mind for my first Barbie creation:

Frilly Purple Shorts!

First, though, I had to transform the Barbie itself. My family friend lent me her daughter's Barbie, but it was looking like a hot mess. (If you'd rather just see the clothing transformation, feel free to skip about half way down the post.)

Before: Scraggly hair Barbie (censored just because)

Crazy hair from behind

If I wanted my clothing re-do to look good, I'd have to make sure Barbie looked good too. Barbie has synthetic hair so it can't be cared for like human hair. I found a number of tutorials on Pinterest for how to untangle Barbie's hair, so I combined them together. First I combed through Barbie's hair from ends to roots with a small-toothed comb (there was a lot of hair loss). Once combed through, it looked like this:

Blonde Afro Barbie

Combed out from behind

Next I poured about 2 tbsp of liquid fabric softener into a coffee mug.

Fabric Softener

I filled up the cup with near-boiling water and dunked Barbie's hair into the water, holding it there for about 1 minute.

Spa time?

Be careful not to touch Barbie's hair to the actual fabric softener or it will dye Barbie's hair!

After about a minute, I took Barbie out of the water solution and I combed the hair out again. This time it was much easier to comb through. After, it looked like this (while still wet):

Freshly detangled

Detangled from behind

Though it was much better than before, I wanted Barbie's hair to have a bit more style, so I looked up another tutorial on Pinterest for styling Barbie hair (remember, it's synthetic). Here's what I did next:

I cut plastic straws into about 1 inch pieces and grabbed some straight pins and small ripped pieces of paper towel. I separated Barbie's hair into small sections, then wet a small piece of paper towel and put it around the end of the hair section so the ends wouldn't fray. Then I rolled the section of hair around a piece of straw from the ends to the root. I pushed a straight pin through the straw roller and into Barbies head (ouch!) to hold it in place (don't worry. It's plastic).

Miniature roller pinned into Barbie's head

I did this with small sections throughout the rest of Barbie's head. (Up close, Barbie's scalp is pretty  creepy!) I paid special attention to Barbie's side-swept bangs to make sure they were all the same length and going the same direction.

Rolled and ready to go!

That's some salon-worthy rolling right there!

After rolling Barbie's hair, I dunked its hair in boiling water on the stove for about 20-40 seconds (make sure not to touch its body to the side of the pot or it could melt!).

Boiling perm
I then rinsed its hair gently in cool water for a few seconds, followed by patting it dry with a towel until it didn't drip anymore. After that I rested Barbie in a plank position over night until its hair was fully dry (Don't rush it. It needs to dry completely!)

Build those biceps!

The next day once Barbie's hair was completely dry, I began to unwind each curl by pulling the pin out and unwrapping and discarding the straw and paper towel piece. I separated each curl into 3 thinner curls and twisted each curl with my finger to give it better shape.

One curl down, many to go!

Finally, after a full day and night at the "spa," Barbie is refreshed and ready to go with a new perm! Barbie's hair even smells like fabric softener :) It was time-consuming, but gave new life to an old doll, and I think it was worth it.

Before: From ratty...

After: oodles of curls!

Kind of reminds me of a beautiful natural-haired Barbie of color I saw online. I hope to have a Barbie of color to give some diversity to my Barbie models:

Beautiful, natural Barbie of color

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Now that we've given Barbie a hair makeover, let's get back to these frilly purple shorts :) I found them at a thrift store on the dollar rack. They were so fun that I couldn't pass them up!

Yes we can can-can!

With all the frills, I thought this would make a great Barbie dress. First I separated the 2 legs straight up the middle seam. 

Separated sides

 Next, I took one side and laid it flat with the thick ruffles facing up.


I took a needle and thread and sewed a straight line along top thin ruffle and pulled it tight to create a smaller waist, and another straight stitch near the top to go above Barbie's bust (Barbie's hips, waist, and bust are WAY disproportionate to each other).

Strait stitched

Then I flipped the fabric inside out and pinned along the edges up to just below the waist and sewed a back skirt seam with the sewing machine.

New back skirt seam

I folded over the excess material at the top of the bust, and sewed a small hem to create a frill at the bust. Then, I sewed small strips of Velcro on the back of the dress from the top to just below the waist (an easy way to get Barbie's clothes to fit over her disproportionate hips and waist).

Sewing on Velcro

Finally, I took some stretchy purple lace with a purple bow in the center that I had and sewed it around the waist.

After a long process (and lots of ripping and re-sewing seams to get the size right), my borrowed Barbie has a whole new look with a fresh perm and a brand new party dress! Plus, I've got a whole other side of the original shorts to use later :)

After: Purple Party Dress

After: Barbie's new look.

After: from behind

So what do you think of my first Barbie transformation? I think I'll try out a few more. But don't worry; I'll still be mainly making clothing transformations human sized :) I'm excited about a new piece I just picked up from the thrift store yesterday. I've got ideas for 2 fabulous recreations from the new piece. Check back soon to see what I've come up with!

Until next time, blessings.

*For the original Barbie hair curling blog, visit here.


  1. OMG! I love this! You are going to have to come over and fix all of my old Barbies for Lily when she gets old enough to play with them. :). You are amazing!

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  3. You are amazing when you do something you sure do it right that was incredible cute and funny she is beautiful but not as beautiful as you. You truly are amazing. I really enjoyed your blog.